Don Tollefson Wants Free Attorney in Fraud Case

Tollefson, a former Philadelphia sportscaster, is now living in North Philadelphia. He says new evidence at his trial next month will exonerate him.

Don Tollefson — the former Philadelphia sportscaster who prosecutors say bilked sports fans out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in sports ticket charity scams — is now looking for a free attorney.

Tollefson, who pleaded guilty in September only to withdraw his plea last week, appeared on North Broad Street yesterday to discuss the case.

He carried a Bible.

Tollefson stood near the Freedom Theater and the old Blue Horizon — near his apartment, he said — and talked with reporters for about 20 minutes. He talked with them about his struggles with alcohol and other drugs and his renewed faith in God. He also said he wants a free attorney for the state. His previous counsel resigned after Tollefson withdrew his guilty plea. His request for a public defender has been denied — he makes $30,000 a year from social security disability — and so he’s currently representing himself.

He didn’t admit any wrongdoing, and disputes the $300,000 figure prosecutors stay he stole. But he said he’s willing to make good any “legitimate” claim people have against him. He says he’s been sober for 438 days — 439, now, I suppose.

“I believe that I’m innocent,” Tollefson told reporters. “I believe, as I said in open court, this should have remained in civil court, because I believe I did not have any criminal intent and the new evidence is very, very important to the decision that I made one week ago today to withdraw my plea.”

Tollefson said he couldn’t say what the new evidence is. His trial is scheduled for January 5th.

[The Times Herald | Inquirer]